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Bolton Nuts » BWFC » Bolton Wanderers News » Ian Evatt banking on X Factor to make a difference at Mansfield

Ian Evatt banking on X Factor to make a difference at Mansfield

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Nat Lofthouse
Nat Lofthouse

Ian Evatt expects Wanderers’ new-look strike force to ‘mix it up’ at Mansfield.

The Bolton boss was left wanting more from his attack in the 1-0 win against Stevenage on Saturday, where three points should have been secured much earlier in the game.

For the first time Evatt handed starts to his deadline day signings Marcus Maddison and Dapo Afolayan, alongside regular goal-getters Nathan Delfouneso and Eoin Doyle, in what looked on paper an electrifying front four.

The quartet allow the type of flexibility and rotation the Whites have lacked for much of the campaign, but Evatt admits there were some teething problems which he hopes to overcome quickly.

“Madds has got that X Factor, there’s no doubt about that,” he told The Bolton News. “With him and Dapo in the mix, if we had fans in stadia then their bums would be off their seats in no time. And that’s the kind of player I want at this football club.

“But we do need to work them into our patterns and what we expect from them. It isn’t a free reign. They have a job to do for the team and they all understand that.

“I think they will get much better as they get fitter with games and hopefully we can see that progress now in the run we’re coming up to.”

Wanderers also have the likes of Shaun Miller, Lloyd Isgrove and Arthur Gnahoua pressing for a starting place at Mansfield, with another long trip to come a few days later at Southend.

That should give Evatt the opportunity to mix and match and while he continues to encourage the expansive passing game he has looked to bed down for much of the campaign, he also feels his players cannot be afraid of going more direct.

“In the 4-2-3-1 we’re playing at the moment the seven, the 10 and the 11 have the license and freedom to rotate position,” he explained. “And that’s great.

“If Dapo, for example, wants to drop inside and get into pockets of space, then that’s where the space should be for the full-backs. Then it becomes a case of picking the right pass.

“We can’t all do that, though. We can’t all drop in and want the ball to feet because the team becomes too predictable and the opposition can squeeze up and compact the game, and that puts pressure on our own defenders.

“Sometimes you need that threat running the other way, in behind. That means the opposition have to drop, the pitch becomes bigger, and then we can start trying to pick people off again. You have to have both sides of the game.”


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